13th Place Finish at Nationals Below Top Ten Expectations

Every February at Yale, the best squash teams from all around the country meet to compete in the High School Nationals. It lasts three days and includes 53 teams out of a pool of 500 qualifiers. The Nationals are split into four divisions, and Andover played in the Top Division comprised of 16 teams. The team went into the National competition confident, but ready for a challenge. Many of the players expected a strong match from Chestnut Hill, their first opponent of the competition. Rishi Jalan ’09, Captain Graham Miao ’09, Tony Zou ‘09, Kyul Rhee ‘10, Trey Meyer ‘09, Hunter Schacks ‘10, Anthony Chau ‘09, and Alex Park ‘09 all geared up for an exciting tournament. All of the top seven competed including Park at number eight. Andover lost to Chestnut Hill four matches to three in a tough battle. Jalan, Miao, and Zou all won their matches. The team also faced a disappointing defeat from Exeter five matches to two. However, Andover came back and swept against Choate, winning seven matches to zero. The last match was against Potomac in which they triumphed six games to one. Andover ended up placing 13th, just shy of their ambitions to place in the top 10. Miao had some doubts about the end result. “I feel our team was unlucky because the Exeter match itself was our second chance at a high ranking, and we had good morale,” said Miao. In the Exeter match, Jalan and Miao both won their matches, but Rhee and Chau could not pull through this time around. Overall, the team had a positive experience at the competition, facing great teams on a national stage. They each grew personally as players and bonded overall as a team. The highlights of the tournament were the matches of Jalan and Miao who played 1st and 2nd on the ladder respectively. They did not drop a single game throughout the tournament. After the excitement of Nationals, Andover began the week with a make-up match against St. Paul’s School on Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, Jalan, a key player, was sick and had to default his match despite his eagerness to play. However, the team prevailed and beat St. Paul’s six games to one. On Wednesday, Andover geared up to play St. George’s. Last season, St. George’s had a competitive ladder with a lot of depth and charisma in the court. Last year St. George’s also had the number one player in New England, Antonio Diaz, to add to their skill. However, the loss of several key Seniors left the St. George’s Varsity team very weak, and Andover’s opponents conceded very easily. Andover breezed through the matches. Each player beat their opponent quite easily. Anthony Chau ’09 started off his match shakily, losing the first game. He ended up winning his match by keeping a steady flow and not giving in even though his match was off to a tough start. In the end, Andover swept, winning seven matches to zero.